Frederick VIII of Denmark

Frederick VIII of Denmark
Frederick VIII
King of Denmark
Reign 29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912
Predecessor Christian IX
Successor Christian X
Spouse Louise of Sweden
Christian X of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway
Princess Louise of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Harald
Princess Ingeborg, Duchess of Västergötland
Princess Thyra
Prince Gustav
Princess Dagmar
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Father Christian IX of Denmark
Mother Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Born June 3, 1843(1843-06-03)
The Yellow Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died May 14, 1912(1912-05-14) (aged 68)
Hamburg, Germany
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Religion Lutheranism

Frederick VIII (Christian Frederik Vilhelm Carl) (3 June 1843 – 14 May 1912) was King of Denmark from 1906 to 1912.


Early life

Frederick's birth place: the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen

Frederick was born on 3 June 1843 in the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen as Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior male line of the House of Oldenburg descended from Christian III of Denmark and who had since ruled as non-souvereign dukes of successive duchies in Schleswig-Holstein for eight generations including his grandfather. His parents were Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Louise of Hesse-Kassel.

The King in 1911

In 1847, his father was chosen as the heir presumptive to the Danish throne, because Frederick's mother Louise of Hesse-Kassel was a close relative of the last Danish king of the Oldenburg main line (the other heirs of the House of Hesse renounced their claims to the Danish throne in favour of Louise and her husband). Accordingly, Frederick became a Prince of Denmark in 1847.

Crown Prince Frederick in 1866.

After his confirmation in 1860, Frederick was given a military education. In 1863, Prince Frederick was sent to do studies at the University of Oxford but when his father ascended the throne in November that year, he became Crown Prince and returned to Denmark.

As Crown Prince of Denmark, he was given a seat in the State Council and subsequently assisted his father in the duties of government.

In 1864, he formally took part in the Second Schleswig War against Austria and Prussia.


Louise of Hesse wanted her eldest son married as well as her two daughters, Alexandra and Dagmar had. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom had two yet unmarried daughters, Princess Helena and Princess Louise, and Louise tried to marry Frederick to one of them. However, the British Queen didn't want her daughters to marry the heirs to foreign crowns, as this would force them to live abroad. She preferred German princes who could establish homes in the UK. In addition, Victoria had always been pro-German and another Danish alliance (Frederick's sister, Alexandra, had married Victoria's eldest son, the Prince of Wales), would not have been in line with her German interests.

In July 1868, Frederick became engaged to Princess Louise of Sweden, the 17-year-old only daughter of King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway. Princess Louise's family was related by marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte. She belonged to the Bernadotte dynasty, which had ruled in Sweden since 1818, when the founder, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's generals, was elected King of Sweden with the name of Charles XIV of Sweden. He married Désirée Clary, who had once been engaged to the French Emperor. Charles XIV's son, Oscar I of Sweden, married Josephine of Leuchtenberg, grandddaughter of Napoleon's first wife, the Empress Josephine. King Oscar I and Queen Josephine were Princess Louise's paternal grandparents.

The marriage was suggested as a way of creating friendship between Denmark and Sweden. The two countries were in a tense situation after Sweden had not assisted Denmark during the war with Prussia and Austria in 1864. Frederick and Louise had met for the first time in 1862, but in 1868 Frederick was invited to Sweden to get to know Louise, and their meeting was described as a success. They became engaged the same year. She was the first Swedish princess to be married in to the Danish royal house since the middle ages, and the marriage was welcomed in all three Scandinavian countries as a symbol of the new Scandinavism.

Crown Prince Frederick and Louise of Sweden married at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 28 July 1869. The couple resided at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, spending the summers at Charlottenlund Palace north of the city. They had four sons and four daughters. The marriage was not a happy one, nor did it have any effect on the relationship between the two countries.


Frederick VIII in 1909

Frederick became king of Denmark as Frederick VIII on Christian IX's death on 29 January 1906. He was 62 years old at the time and had been Crown Prince for 43 years.

In many ways Frederick VIII was a liberal ruler who was much more favorable to the new parliamentarian system than his father had been. Because of his very late accession to the throne he only had a few years to show his ability and he was weakened by ill health.


On his return journey from Nice a trip to France, King Frederick made a short stop in Hamburg, staying at the Hotel Hamburger Hof. The evening of his arrival, Frederick (incognito) took a walk on the Jungfernstieg. While walking he became faint and collapsed on a park bench and died. He was discovered by a police officer who took him to a Hafen hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death was announced as a paralysis-attack. He was interred with other members of the Danish royal family in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen.


The royal families of Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from King Frederick VIII. Denmark comes naturally, Norway's family goes through the line of his son, Prince Carl, and the families of Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from his daughter, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.

Titles, styles and honours

Monarchical styles of
King Frederik VIII of Denmark
Royal Coat of Arms of Denmark (1903-1948).svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sire

Titles and styles

  • 3 June 1843 – 31 July 1853: His Serene Highness Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • 31 July 1853 – 21 December 1858: His Highness Prince Frederick of Denmark
  • 21 December 1858 – 15 November 1863: His Royal Highness Prince Frederick of Denmark
  • 15 November 1863 – 29 January 1906: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince
  • 29 January 1906 - 14 May 1912: His Majesty The King


Frederick VIII was the 1,065th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain, the 806th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1896 and the 152nd Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

Ancestry and descent



Name Birth Death Spouse Children
Christian X of Denmark 1870 1947 Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Frederick IX of Denmark
Prince Knud of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway 1872 1957 Maud of Wales Olav V of Norway
Princess Louise of Denmark 1875 1906 Prince Frederick of Schaumburg-Lippe Princess Marie Louise of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe
Stephanie of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Harald of Denmark 1876 1949 Princess Helena Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Princess Feodora of Denmark
Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark
Princess Alexandrine-Louise of Denmark
Prince Gorm of Denmark
Count Oluf of Rosenborg
Princess Ingeborg of Denmark 1878 1958 Prince Carl of Sweden Princess Margaretha of Sweden
Princess Märtha Louise of Sweden
Princess Astrid of Sweden
Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland
Princess Thyra of Denmark 1880 1945 unmarried none
Prince Gustav of Denmark 1887 1944 unmarried none
Princess Dagmar of Denmark 1890 1961 Jørgen Castenskiold Carl Castenskiold
Christian Castenskiold
Jørgen Castenskiold
Dagmar Castenskiold

External links

Frederick VIII
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: June 3 1843 Died: May 14 1912
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Christian IX
King of Denmark
Succeeded by
Christian X

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